Why feelings beat facts in fundraising

If your organization is any good at all, you know clearly how the funds you spend impact the world around you. You can track dollars to activities, and you know what those activities accomplish.

Organizations that don’t know that should figure it out quickly. Because they don’t really deserve the support of donors.

But being able to say what donor support means in terms of program activities is not fundraising.

In fact, it’s anti-fundraising, as reported at the 101fundraising blog: Feeling Good about Feelings, Facts and Fundraising.

Why? Because psychology:

What science has shown is that we feel before we think, and that we often act on emotion before we know why. What that means for our fundraising communications, is that we have to tell a story not about what money is spent on, but what money achieves.

Donors don’t give because you’re on top of all the details. They give because you touch their heart and show them they can make the world better in a way they care about.

Your donors give to make things happen. Not to fund programs. That means all fundraising should focus on the problems your donors can solve. Not the process you go through to do your work.

Your processes, no matter how excellent they are, don’t cause donors to care and to give.

It’s the outcomes — the delta between the world as it is and they world as it will be when they give. That’s how you reach donors and raise funds.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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